The group, such as is left, stand around, a bit befuddled for a moment. Alph goes and rummages around in Daraja’s pack, taking his rapier and coin purse.
The rangers look around, as Merri – very upset about her beard – starts at one of them. He holds up his sword, and warns her back, saying he has no idea what just happened, but as far as he knows, they’re still fugitives and he wants to take them back to the city. There are a few harsh words exchanged, but the rangers generally have the upper hand, so Drakewing offers them surrender, so that they can bury the dead, and take Daraja and Stringwhisker’s bodies back to Toreguard. They set about making stretchers and prepare for the long walk back.
Elowen is woken by Captain Withnail bringing her breakfast – bacon, eggs, toast, porridge – but she is hungover and doesn’t want to eat. He tells her that he’s resigned and she is annoyed, but understanding. He tells her there is more for her out in the world, that she should leave Toreguard to rot, and she can’t hide in cell forever. He goes on to mention that he’s left a pack for her, and he’s going to leave the door open for her. She tells him she’s not going anywhere, but all he does is nod, and says he’ll take the key so she can’t lock herself back in.
“There’s nails in here you know! I can just as easily… un-pick the lock, and close it again…”
The party on the road enter the city and are surrounded by city guards. They are allowed to pass through to the Garden of Galana, where Daraja and Stringwiskers are intered. The rangers, not really sure what to do with them, offer to escort them to Drakewing’s house, but a guard gives a meaningful cough, and they are taken back to the north precinct.
They are introduced to the new captain, Leo Tharrus, a quality sort of chap who has a salt-n-pepper tash, white pony tail and glass eye. Some words are exchanged, and he then gives the order for them to be taken downstairs, where they see Elo is still sat in her cell, breakfast mostly gone and door open. When she sees the others she leaps up and starts screaming at them demanding to know what in all the God’s Names they’re doing back, and calling Alph stupid and idiot. Some more harsh words are exchanged, and Elo beats her fists on Alph’s chest. Eventually she calms down, and throws her hands up with a cry of ‘to hell with the lot of us’. Alph says something else to provoke her, and she throws the porridge at the bars and sprays everyone. They are all locked up, and Merri requests her priest. Tharrus agrees, and leaves as Alph continues to argue with Elo, who continues to berate them for coming back and throw crockery at Alph.
Upstairs Enizeag is given his bounty, and is wandering back through the watch house as the priest of Moradin walks through, recognises him, and grabs him as he passes through to talk to the others. Merri starts by admitting she lost the scrolls, and explains what happened. The old priest is surprised after she tells him that there was divine intervention. He becomes excited and examines both Alphonse and Enizeag, and proclaims them to be newly formed and whole, as a child. He says they must find a way to escape, as Moradin wouldn’t have bestowed this blessing on just anyone. They must surely be special and important in some way to his divine plans, and thus can’t be permitted to rot in prison, despite what Elo thinks. He gives them a rousing speech about the job they have before them, to save the city and quite possibly the world along with it, and that they can’t do it from the wrong side of bars.
His time with them comes to an end, and is asked to leave by a watch officer, so the priest takes Enizeag to the Temple of Moradin, gives him some better robes and charges him with not only freeing them from the prison, but their bodily and spiritual safety from now on. Enizeag thinks hard about how he is going to get them out. As the old priest noted, ‘there is no polite way to get it done’. Thinking to cause a distraction and half-sneak them out, he heads to the church of Olidammara and looks for Cece. Unbeknownst to him, she is actually a psychotic duplicitous bitch. She readily agrees to assisting him in causing a ‘distraction’, if it’ll get her little hunnybuns (also known as Alphonse) out of jail.
She requests some bodies from the city morgue, and Enizeag provides them, not too sure about her plan, but unfortunately trusting she knows what she’s doing. Once she’s received them, she begins to raise them and then goes all out crazy-town. She takes them in the hearse he’s ‘borrowed’ and sends them into the North-Gate watch House, shrieking like a banshee, and directs them to slaughter everyone in their path. It’s a bit of a ‘you were only meant to blow the bloody doors off’ situation, but Enizeag the pragmatist takes what he’s got and works with it, making his way down to the jails under the watch house.
Down below the others are surprised to hear the commotion, and are wondering what’s happening, when Enizeag bursts through the door, the cell keys in his hands. he releases them all, and tell them they have to get moving. Elo is reluctant, but before anyone can do anything Tharrus comes running through the door. He shoves it closed behind him, and starts wailing about the undead and the murderous bitch above. All eyes turn towards Enizeag, and someone asks what he’s done. Before he can answer, the door goes flying open and Cece comes through. She greets Alph fondly, gives a nod to the others, and hauls Captain Tharrus to his knees. She says something about the days of people not taking her seriously are at an end, and she snaps the Captain’s neck with about as much remorse as if to a chicken. Elo and Alph cry out, and the others look a little bit sick. Cece taps Alphonse on the bum, and tell him he ought to be on his way now. She turns to Enizeag, thanks him for a fun time and then also indicates they should probably get a shift on. Elo is outraged and says if ever they needed to stay put it was now, but Enizeag encourages her to leave by picking her up. She slips out his grasp, grabs the bag and weapons that Captain Withnail left her, and sulks out.
Upstairs is carnage and both Elo and Alph are appalled. Cece offers no remorse, so Elo tries to sling a dagger in her back but it goes wide. The others are ushered out to the waiting hearse, and Alph and Elo hurry to their offices to check on their partners. They are fine, but shaken. Elo offers thanks they’re fine and tells them she’s so sorry for how all this has turned out. Enizeag picks her up, throws her over a shoulder while she can’t protest, and they all leave Toreguard in the hearse.
Two days on the road to Fangthane and they come across an outpost of three men. It is badly kept and little more than a tower, but they decide to stop to at least give the horse a rest. They meet two of the men, Harold and Henry of the 43rd Company Road Wardens, straight off and they offer to put the kettle on while they chat about why they are on the road. Elo is not happy about how much the others are keen to tell the guards, and wants to move on, but that changes when the third of the Wardens, Anthony, come back. he is rude and disrespectful, and Elo is very keen to put him in his place but the others prudently drag her away before a fight can start.
They continue on towards the gold-capped mountain and eventually come to the border between where the Plains end and Fangthane’s land begins. there is a noticeable difference in upkeep of the two sides, and a few miles in from the border is a small settlement surrounding a dwarfish watch tower. They elect to stop there for the night and rest the horses again. Because it is a bigger settlement, Elo says someone should look after their hearse and volunteers herself. The others reluctantly agree, and vanish into the inn, where they order food and pay for rooms and sabling. They also send someone out to ask Elo what she wants, and initially she is reluctant, as she has no cash but the enthusiastic dwarf says she must have something, so she asks for a cup of tea and some bread. He brings her a thermos and a massive sandwich. As darkness falls Drakewing asks her to come sleep inside but she insists someone should stay with the horse, and so they bring her another thermos of tea and a blanket and let her be. The next morning they purchase some rudimentary arms and armour with what little cash they have on them, and continue on to the mountain.
After another few weeks, they approach the base of Fangthane. The guards tell them they can’t come in, and Merri shows him the letter from the High Priest of Moradin in Toreguard. He peers at her, and says something about her wanting to get out so desperately, now she wants to come back in? but the seal and addressee on the letter convince him, so they open the gates a crack for the hearse to rumble on through. The hearse and horses are subsumed by the mountain and the group is escorted to one of the high priests. The letter is handed over, and read by the dwarf with increasing incredulity, muttering and a final ‘Well. Shit.’ He gives them another speech, this one about iron having to be heated and tempered before it can be an effective weapon. So buoyed, he sends them on to Merri’s folks for some rest and to figure out what the hell they are going to do about the big nasty dragon, and the big nasty leaky portal.
They arrive after having apparently seen everyone who might know Merri in the whole damn mountain, to hugs and beer. They explain what happened and Merri’s mother coos over her while her Dad tells embarrassing stories. Elo says they’re going to need some new gear if they want to take on the whole Drakemar empire, but all she has is the damnable tainted coins from the Emissary. Gruk recoils in horror, but then seems to have a thought. He asks them all out back to his mini-forge while Merri’s Mam finishes dinner. He gets them all to put their tainted gold into a crucible which he heats, and pours the liquid metal into a dagger cast. He says he will fashion it into a killing weapon for them, so they can take out the dragon with his own poison touch. They return to dinner and chat amicably.